WARREN, NJ – Students and parents of the Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) Senior Class received an outline of how to best navigate the college application process on Thursday, Sept. 14, at the Class of 2018 Senior Parent Night.

The 560 members of the Class of 2018 and their parents were assigned to one of six large gathering spaces in the school to hear their assigned Guidance Counselors share tried and true “ how to” tips about researching colleges, getting through the application process, and adhering to key benchmarks in the financial aid and scholarship process.

The night was organized by the WHRHS Guidance Department, which is under the direction of Director Catherine Angelastro. Participating are Guidance Counselors Robert Camenini, Laura Dunn, Patricia Godon, Glenn Graham, Frances Hernandez, Patti Lampa, Barbara Meyer, Teresa Miles, Lauren Sagat, and Joseph Toye.

Sign Up for E-News

The counselors listed important calendar dates and deadlines for nearby college fairs, one as soon as from 12 to 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17, at the County College of Morris. More than 200 colleges would be represented at that college fair. Other big nearby college fairs that WHRHS students are invited to attend to find valuable information about the colleges they are thinking about applying, are planned for Bridgewater-Raritan High School, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 19, and at Summit High School at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 2.

Likewise, WHRHS will host a Financial Aid Night at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 27.

In addition, Guidance Counselor Meyer told the students and parents gathered in Room 94 that representatives from as many as 150 colleges will visit WHRHS this Fall. They are all eager to meet WHRHS students, particularly those who might be interested in attending their college. They will be able to answerall the students’ questions about admissions requirements, and more.

The students and their parents received a “Senior Checklist” of seven key parts of the application process.

They are:

Questionnaires: Students must complete their “Counselor Questionnaire,” and “Teacher Recommendation Forms” as soon as possible;

Resume: This is a graduation requirement, the guidance counselors said, Students can use “Resume Builder” on Naviance, an American college and career readiness software provider used by high schools and other K–12 institutions to provide students with college planning and career assessment tools.

List of Colleges: Students should research, visit if possible, speak to college representatives at local college fairs, and develop a list of schools. They should also learn the key application deadlines for schools on their list, and share that list with their guidance counselor.

SAT/ACT Testing: This fall is the last chance to test. Students should check dates and deadlines. Students are also responsible for arranging for their scores to be sent to the schools to which they are applying.

Student Athletes: Students athletes, particularly those applying to Division I and II schools, must register on the NCAA Web site if they have not already done so. WHRHS will not send out a student’s transcript unless the student has done so.

Application Process: Students should start working on their applications and college essays. Once the application has been submitted, students must see their guidance counselor, and complete the Naviance Process with their counselor, including the sending of transcripts and recommendations.

Counselor Appointments: Students have the opportunity to meet with their counselors. At that meeting, designed to be between the student and their counselor only, the general steps of the application process will be reviewed again. A second meeting between the student and their counselor will take place after the Naviance application process has been completed.

As they have before, the guidance counselors at Senior Night stressed that this is a time for students to show real initiative and leadership in managing their application process. After all, they said, this will be their college experience and their future. 

Not only will taking this initiative be a more fulfilling living/learning experience for the students, the counselors said, it will more likely also demonstrate to college representatives that they possess the maturity, self-directed drive, and “follow-through” to succeed in college.